Genres: Romance, Historical
After a year of grand adventures touring the classical ruins of Italy and Greece, Iphiginia Bright returned to England to discover that the real excitement was at home. It seems that her Aunt Zoe has fallen victim to a sinister blackmailer and only Iphiginia can hope to stop the culprit before he can do more harm. Her plan is inspired: Imitating history's most legendary beauties--Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Aphrodite--the former schoolmistress will remake herself, and descend upon London Society as the dazzling mistress of Marcus Valerius Cloud, the infamous Earl of Masters. Rumors hint that the Earl has disappeared at the blackmailer's hands, and by posing as his unknown mistress, Iphiginia is convinced she can ferret out the villain. Overnight, Iphiginia is transformed into a vision with a host of eager admirers, including one she does not expect -- the Earl of Masters himself, who strides into a shimmering ballroom one evening to cooly reclaim his "mistress". He is everything they say he is... arrogant, attractive, devastatingly seductive, and Iphiginia can't help but be enthralled. But when Marcus agrees to play along with her charade, she doesn't know that the determined earl has plans of his own: to tease and tempt her, until the beautiful deceiver becomes more than his mistress in name only.
A fun premise from Amanda Quick
Thoughts on Mistress
It should be noted that Amanda Quick — better known as a pseudonym of Jayne Ann Krentz — was, at one time, my favorite author. And although that was more than a decade ago, she will always have a spot in my heart, even if I don’t quite connect with her books as well as I used to.
One reason I loved Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz books is that her characters are intelligent. The heroine does her own thing. The hero falls hard. It’s quite pleasing all around. But Mistress seems to hit you over the head with the intelligence factor, with the characters — Iphiginia more than Marcus — commenting on the other’s intelligence.
And don’t even get me started on the name Iphiginia. At least I have copy/paste on my side so I don’t spell her name wrong.
I did enjoy the set up of this book — Iphiginia poses as the mistress of the Earl of Masters (Marcus) to look into the blackmailing of her aunt, and when he catches wind of it, he simply has to investigate… and get pulled under Iphiginia’s spell. (Seriously, copy/paste is amazing.)
Amanda Quick books often have an element of suspense or mystery in them, even though they’re historical romance. I’m always fond of this, since it provides outside factors to keep the couple apart, rather than their stubborn beliefs. However. HOWEVER. Marcus had some pretty stuffy “rules” that he was infamous for that, quite naturally, caused some angst toward the end of the story. It only moderately made me roll my eyes.
I also seem to remember that Amanda Quick books also feature a virgin heroine who hides her virginity until the hero discovers it for himself… usually as he thrusts home. That holds true for Mistress, too, and… yeah. I’m not sure how I feel about that scene because there are elements that are amusing to it. And yet, Iphiginia should have said something beforehand rather than letting Marcus believe she was a widow. Like he wouldn’t find out? Come on.
As to the blackmailer, I actually figured it out before it was revealed (yay me!), but it was an… okay? mystery/suspense line. Lots of Marcus running after Iphiginia and getting mad when she wouldn’t listen to him. Iphiginia herself stretched the bounds of believable situations. Oddly enough, it was the money factor more than anything. She was incredibly brilliant, yes, but there would have been a lot of subterfuge necessary to get the men of the world to let the women invest their money.
So yes. Mistress is most definitely everything I remember of Amanda Quick books. They’re pleasant, but I do believe my tastes have altered somewhat. Still an enjoyable book. I would pick up more without hesitation.